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RR694 - Managing stress and sickness absence

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is working with organisations to reduce the causes of work-related stress, and has developed the Management Standards to assist it. This is part of its work to meet the targets set in ‘Securing Health Together’(2000) and the delivery of Public Service Agreement (PSA) targets (for 2004-2007) to reduce work-related ill-health and work-related sickness absence.

This report reflects research that evaluates the HSE’s SIP2 initiative, which aimed to help organisations manage stress and absence. It explores the effectiveness of the intervention in influencing procedures for managing work-related stress and sickness absence in organisations in the HSE’s target sectors. It also examines organisations’ existing policies and procedures in sickness absence management and stress management practices and assesses progress that organisations have made in implementing the Management Standards. Finally, it analyses the extent to which any changes made to the management of stress and sickness absence in the organisation worked, the barriers encountered and the solutions to these problems.

The research is based on a telephone survey of 500 HR and occupational health professionals and in-depth case studies with nine organisations.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2010-03-19